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Yet-another-imaging-mount question

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#1 Michael Rapp

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 10:26 AM

I have a $300 budget. I'm looking for a mount that can track unguided for ten minutes with a 50 lb payload---

Just kidding. :D

My own frustrations several years ago convinced me that a good mount is pivotal to being able to take good astrophotos, especially as the focal length increases. I also accept that a good mount is expensive. Very expensive.

I frustrated myself right out of the hobby by trying to do too much with inadequate equipment, mostly in the mount area. So it’s time to do this right.

To keep things from getting out of control, I envision my payload being a modest 3”-4” 500-800mm refractor and a 80mm or so guidescope. Plus, the requisite CCD/DLSR and guider and filter wheel. Budget is $2-$3000.

I am not mechanically inclined. Taking apart a mount and hypertuning it is not in my future.

A few years ago, before I got derailed, I was saving up for a G11. Is this still a viable choice? Other than the CGEM, what other mounts should I be looking at? Texas Nautical Repair is in my backyard, anything from Takahashi?

I’d like to ask a related question to avoid ending on "what mount should I get"...what are the characteristics that make a good mount for the imaging load I’m looking at? What makes some mounts better than others in this arena?

#2 orlyandico


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Posted 24 July 2010 - 02:39 PM

A used EM-11 went on A-Mart for $1500. That's a very nice mount although you can get a used G-11 for that price as well. But the Taks require no fiddling and "just work."

Personally for that budget I'd go for the Tak. Even the Vixens aren't made like they used to.. and are getting too whiz-bang with the Starbook-S for my taste.

For your imaging load, even a CG-5 would do, and with PHD it would do great. So the differences really are in usability, not performance. We're not in 40 arc-second Chinese mount territory anymore, and mechanically they're all similar.

#3 Joe Cipriano

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 04:51 PM


One question - are you willing to go used? Opens up the possibilities considerably.
There's an AP400 (no tripod) on AMart for $2250 OBO; a G11 (not Gemini) with upgraded worms, DSCs, and an SBIG STV Deluxe included for $2700; and a G11/Gemini for $2500. All should work with your intended imaging load.

#4 Patrick


    Voyager 1

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 09:43 PM

what are the characteristics that make a good mount for the imaging load I’m looking at?

Low periodic error. Stable platform through a wide range of loads. Easy to use electronics. Reliability and consistent performance. And then, the all important question...what does it cost? :smirk:


#5 Rusty



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Posted 24 July 2010 - 10:22 PM

I've used my Sirius for 10 minutes unguided at f/7; it did very well. But my NJP lulls the auto-guider to sleep.

I'd suggest getting the EM-10 or -11 Tak if you can find one, or an AP400.

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